Alfian Sa’at: PAP leverages on ‘minority rights’ to canvass support for their own Malay presidential candidate
With Mdm Halimah confirming her wish to run for President, I can’t help but be awestruck by the sheer perversity of co-opting progressive language (gender parity! minority representation!) for a deeply authoritarian agenda. It reminded me a little of the Bukit Batok by-election, and the candidacy of Murali Pillai, where PM Lee himself said, in reference to the residents, that “when they vote for somebody, they should not be voting on the basis of race”.
As if somehow the residents had to prove themselves not racist by voting in the PAP candidate. In this current situation, objections to this ‘reserved’ Presidential Elections are swiped aside by the disarming question: ‘don’t you think it’s time we had a Malay president?’
In the country up north, we witness how the rhetoric of ‘ketuanan Melayu’ under threat is used to frighten voters into UMNO’s embrace. In Singapore, minority rights provide a critique-proof cover for PAP to rig the system. But whether one claims to champion Malaysian racial supremacy or Singaporean racial diversity, the end-goal is the same: continued dominance of the ruling party.
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